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  #1  
Old September 9th, 2009, 01:16 AM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

If you were going out tomorrow shopping for a lap top computer, camera/cam corder, and/or a good hand held recording device, what would your Xmas list include, and where would you be spending your $?

And why are Mac's so much more than other brands of computers?
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  #2  
Old September 9th, 2009, 01:41 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Apple doesn't sell but a handful of computers compared to all the IBM's. This link says Apple has about 6% of the US market. http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...t_quarter.html So there's a ton of competition among IBMs and boatloads of interchangeable parts and software programs while Mac is the only Mac. Some would say it's better designed, causes fewer problems and crashes, etc.

Good digital cameras are becoming so inexpensive and the technology is changing so fast that a person needs to be pretty into photography to justify the cost of a good DSLR. Look at how great LikaNui's pics are and how much zoom he has and what a great price he paid.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Depth of field seems to be the big pro for the dsnl's over p&s. I might give a rip if I started getting photo happy.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

personally I am SHOCKED at how low the prices for HD tv's are compared to about a year (and give a few months) they were. now you can find 22" ers under $200. Geez, I rememeber pricing them dec 07/jan 08 and remember considering up to $400 and up for 22" and higher.

I am soon to buy a new laptop myself, but "best bang for $" doesn't really compute into my purchase. I am highly considering a Sony Vaio FW 16.5" in chocolate brown. Many times for me, style and beauty figure into my price. Right now, that is what I am dreaming about, but a few months ago, it was a stunning bronze HP 17" laptop, who knows what it'll be in a month when i can actually get it. Right now, in the interim, a friend sold me her ASUS 10" EEE which I absolutely LOVE, but it's not feasible to do graphics, plus it's a bit too dainty for a 6'3" guy like me with big hands.

I need a camera too.....
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Old September 9th, 2009, 02:57 AM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default I can dig it...

If I didn't have about 10 G worth of toy's in waiting to pay for I'd go for the sexy one too. But I'll reserve that attitude for my guitar selections!

The constant drop in prices is another factor to keep me from rushing any purchases, but then, I've been waiting forever already.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 03:57 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

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Originally Posted by Ron Whitfield View Post
If you were going out tomorrow shopping for a lap top computer
It depends on what you are planning to do with that laptop. If you are planning to keep that laptop at home all the time (takes up less desk space than a desktop), the weight of the unit doesn't factor much into the decision, but rather available disk space, size of the RAM, DVD burner, number and types of external connections would factor into the decision.

If you plan on moving around a lot, where you want to be light as possible and already have access to a computer that has more resources you might want to consider a netbook, prices for them have been dropping.

Also for the Windows based computer a new operating system will be out in October.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 04:41 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

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Also for the Windows based computer a new operating system will be out in October.
Which is what I'm waiting for. I want to hear if Windows 7 OS is way better than Vista.

As for a dream PC-based laptop (i.e,. not netbook), it has to have backlit keyboard, Centrino 2, long battery life without the heat, wi-fi without the heat, hard drive without the heat, with full-version music/video editing software, and karaoke software. It also have to be very portable (15.0-inch or less display, weigh less than 5.0 pounds).
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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Ron Whitfield: "And why are Mac's so much more than other brands of computers?"

You're basically paying for sex. Well a sexy looking computer and operating system, that is. Part of the cost is exotic materials, such as a slim magnesium body instead of a chunky plastic one. Another part goes to paying the salary of industrial and user interface designers who make gadgets like the iPod a pleasure to look at and easy to use. I imagine a big chunk goes into branding, so that Apple products are perceived as status symbols and luxury items, instead of commodity goods.

Perhaps you don't care for a sexy computer, but everyone goes nuts over something. It may be a gas-guzzling luxury car, an 2x speed limit sports bike, a match grade pistol that shoots the balls off a fly, a "tactical" folding knife used by Navy SEALs, a pure bred dog with expensive medical conditions, or high heel shoes made from the skin of fairies. Owning special things makes us feel special, and that's what we're paying for.

Oh BTW, it is possible to run Mac OS X on PC hardware. Google "hackintosh". People have gotten it installed on netbooks (cheap, stripped down laptops).



Jim75: "Good digital cameras are becoming so inexpensive and the technology is changing so fast that a person needs to be pretty into photography to justify the cost of a good DSLR. Look at how great LikaNui's pics are and how much zoom he has and what a great price he paid."

Totally agree with you. Canon's G-series keeps getting better; the G11 is looking real appealing. I also like the progress made with the Micro 4/3's format, with the Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic GF1. Canon's waterproof D10 looks like a lot of fun, especially for the kids.

Of course none of the cameras I mentioned are cheap, but their features will quickly trickle down to consumer priced products. It's a great time for photography.



Ron Whitfield: "Depth of field seems to be the big pro for the dsnl's over p&s."

Yeah, a shallow depth of field is one of the benefits of a DSLR; really great for portraits. On the other had, a P&S's deep depth of field is really handy for macro photography, where it's difficult to get all of an ant's body into focus, for instance.



Three big benefits of DSLRs are:

1) large sensor
2) interchangeable lenses
3) more responsive



Large Sensor

The sensor is the digital equivalent of a piece of film. On P&S's, the sensor is small, about the size of your fingernail, on your little pinkie. On DSLRs, they are up to the size of two postage stamps, side by side. What a larger sensor gets you is better low light performance. If you try to use your P&S indoors or at night, without the flash, odds are your pictures will turn out very blurry or noisy (like static on a TV). A DSLR, with the right lens, can shoot pictures at night, without a flash, and make it seem like day time.

Keep in mind indoor pictures, even during the day, are considered "low light" (unless you have huge windows). The human eye (plus our brain) is amazingly adaptive, and what seems "bright" to us can be rather "dark" to a camera. Conversely, what seems normal to us can be too bright for a camera. Part of the trick to photography is seeing the world like a camera, instead of a human.

With larger sensors you get a shallower depth of field, as Ron mentioned. Great for portraits, but not so great for macro photography and landscape, where you want everything to be in focus.

Larger sensors also give you better resolution. The 12 MP (megapixels) in your P&S will be "lower quality" than the 12 MP in your DSLR. Because the P&S's sensor is small, it has to squeeze all those 12MPs into a smaller space. The pixels in a P&S are smaller than in a DSLR. Small pixels are more..."delicate". What I mean by that is they are less forgiving about defects in your camera lens. Since the lenses in P&Ses are relatively cheap, you'll have poorer resolution.

Of course that's not to say the pictures coming out of your P&S won't appear sharp. There are many tricks a camera can do to your picture to make it appear sharper than it really is, which is fine for the majority of people.



Interchangeable Lenses


One of the advantages, and weaknesses, of a DSLR is the variety of high quality, special purpose lenses you can use. Lens quality is just as, if not more, important than your camera body / sensor. With DSLRs, you can use lenses optimized for wide angle, telephoto, macro, portrait, or landscape photography. P&S lenses on the other hand are Jacks of all trades, masters of none.

The price you pay for this quality is back pain (heavy lenses) and going into debt (yay for reverse mortgages!). Check out this $120,000, 36 pound lens from Canon.

And this bazooka from Sigma:


If you're happy with "good enough" images, then a P&S's all-in-one solution is very convenient. You can have the equivalent of a macro, wide angle, and zoom lens all in your pocket (well, big pockets I suppose).



More Responsive


I'm sure you've all had this frustration. Your kids are doing something cute, you whip out the P&S, you wait for the perfect moment, you press the button and...PAUSE. Your P&S takes its sweet arse time doing who knows what, before it finally decides to take the picture. Of course by then your child has run off, doing something else. This is called "shutter lag"; the time from when you press the button to when the picture is taken. DSLRs respond quicker than P&Ses.

There are many reasons for this responsiveness, the most significant being auto-focus speed. DSLRs use the "phase detection" method while P&Ses use "contrast detection". Phase detection is lightning quick, but you can do neat tricks with contrast detection, such as facial recognition.

DSLRs can also takes pictures faster. The professional Nikon D3 can blaze along at 8 frames per second; great for capturing the perfect moment in sports. P&Ses shoot around 1 or 2 frames per second, just fast enough, barely, to catch kids doing cute things.



Conclusion

You can take great photographs with a P&S; photographs which win contests and get used in print advertising. DSLRs just allow you to take great photographs in tougher situations.
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Last edited by MyopicJoe; September 9th, 2009 at 07:29 PM.
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  #9  
Old September 9th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

^ ^ ^

Whoa, that's enough to give someone a serious case of... camera envy, LOL.

I've gone from old school rangefinders to film SLRs to digital P&S, now starting to think about my first digital SLR.

MJ, thanks for a great tutorial and food for thought!
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  #10  
Old September 9th, 2009, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

If I were to buy a laptop tomorrow I'd get a cheapie <$400 laptop (not netbook) from bestbuy, costco, or samsclub.
If I were to get a camera I'd get a Canon T1i from Costco.com for $800 (after $300 mail in rebate) that comes with a printer/scanner/copier. I have a very nice 6" aperture 1500mm focal length telescope that I can use as a telephoto lens which is influencing my decision to get a dslr. This particular dslr supposedly has the best video quality of a consumer dslr (20 fps 1080p/30 fps 720p) and is the first consumer Canon dslr to do video at all which is why I'd get it rather than a Canon XS/XSi.
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  #11  
Old September 10th, 2009, 12:41 AM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
1) Everyone goes nuts over something. It may be a gas-guzzling luxury car, an 2x speed limit sports bike, a match grade pistol that shoots the balls off a fly, a "tactical" folding knife used by Navy SEALs, a pure bred dog with expensive medical conditions, or high heel shoes made from the skin of fairies.
2)
1) Stop, I have enuf things to buy!
2) I would prefer the gun that shoots the balls off of flys.

Lot's of good tips so far, V cool.

Can the military PX be a good place to shop for wide selections and cheaper deals?
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Old September 10th, 2009, 02:30 AM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default Here's a possible best banger...

How 'bout some HT pros and cons on this - www.computershopper.com/laptops/reviews/hp-compaq-presario-cq60-419wm
I'm not into slow speeds for general site cruising. Will this be a deal breaker on this unit?
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Old September 10th, 2009, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Netbooks tend to use the Atom 1.6 GHz processor. The Compaq you referenced runs at 2.1GHz, but using a different processor, plus it has 3 Gbytes of RAM.

The Compaq CQ60-419WM sounds like good and inexpensive system to cruise HawaiiThreads, write that NaNoWriMo at any place in your home, play Freecell, store photos and update your iPod. Of course you will need to pay extra for a memory card reader since this system doesn't have one but at $300 it shouldn't break the budget.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 03:45 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Look's good, helen, thanx.

BTW, what is the 'webcam' feature some are so concerned about?
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Old September 10th, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Some laptops and netbooks have a built in camera, located above the screen, at the center. With this device you can use your system as a two way communication device. Camera's resolution is not the best but good enough to do chats.

Last edited by helen; September 10th, 2009 at 04:27 PM. Reason: missed a word
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Old September 10th, 2009, 01:13 PM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default It's just a camera, right?

It's not essential to the audio or other functions, I'll assume/hope?
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Old September 10th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: It's just a camera, right?

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It's not essential to the audio or other functions, I'll assume/hope?
The camera? If you don't have one it won't affect anything else.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

Though I haven't been there myself, I've heard SaveCo is also a good place to find discount electronics. About a month ago they had refurbished Canon T1i's on sale for a few hundred dollars off of retail price (not as good a deal as the Costco one StinkyTheGrump mentioned). No website, so you have to show up in person to see which deals they have.


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Originally Posted by musubi View Post
I've gone from old school rangefinders to film SLRs to digital P&S, now starting to think about my first digital SLR.
Cool. I've never used a rangefinder yet. I hear the viewfinders are large and bright. I like how discrete the camera is. It's difficult to go unnoticed, when you're pointing a honkin DSLR are people. How do you like rangefinders, compared to SLRs?

Leica just announced the M9. It's a full frame 35mm digital rangefinder. Assuming you don't mind dropping $7K ;_D


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Originally Posted by StinkyTheGrump View Post
I have a very nice 6" aperture 1500mm focal length telescope that I can use as a telephoto lens which is influencing my decision to get a dslr.
Cool. Are you into astrophotography (I hear it's tough), or do you train your telescope on more terrestrial things?
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Old September 10th, 2009, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

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Cool. Are you into astrophotography (I hear it's tough), or do you train your telescope on more terrestrial things?
I want to get into astrophotography and more into amateur photography. Astrophotography can get *extremely* expensive and complicated and the camera is not even the most expensive part. I would probably just do some moon shots/videos and if I really get into it get a few filters to do some deep space stuff...but then I have to upgrade my mount

I have a great view of Pearl Harbor so I do plan on doing some terrestrial shots as well. Once I get a camera and have it all set up I'll post some pics!
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Old September 10th, 2009, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

For $50 more, the dual core Compaq CQ60-421NR with 320 gb seems an even better deal.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

You might have too. Checking the Wal-Mart and Best Buy web sites on Wednesday made no mention of the Compaq CQ60-419WM.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

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Can the military PX be a good place to shop for wide selections and cheaper deals?
In my experience this is definitely not the place to find deals on electronics. If only the prices here were comparably low to how they are for groceries at the Commissary...I'd have every gadget known to man
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Old September 10th, 2009, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

I was just told the Canon T1i's for sale at SaveCo (the only two are gone now) went for $625 for just the camera body.


Quote:
Originally Posted by StinkyTheGrump View Post
the camera is not even the most expensive part
Is the tripod and some sort of tracking system the most expensive part? I assume a steady base is important.

Quote:
I have a great view of Pearl Harbor so I do plan on doing some terrestrial shots as well. Once I get a camera and have it all set up I'll post some pics!
Cool! I'm looking forward to seeing how far your telescope can reach out towards that floating "golf ball".
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Old September 11th, 2009, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for $ digitals, just asking

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I was just told the Canon T1i's for sale at SaveCo (the only two are gone now) went for $625 for just the camera body.

Is the tripod and some sort of tracking system the most expensive part? I assume a steady base is important.
That's a great deal if that's not used!

Yep. Say you have $3000 for a budget. Spend 1500 on a mount and tracking system, 700 on the optical tube assembly, 400 on a used camera, and the rest on misc accessories.
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Old September 11th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: Digital rangefinder

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Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
Leica just announced the M9. It's a full frame 35mm digital rangefinder. Assuming you don't mind dropping $7K ;_D
I would have thought "digital rangefinder" to be an oxymoron, didn't realize Leica was still making rangefinders! Your M9 link was very interesting...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
Cool. I've never used a rangefinder yet. I hear the viewfinders are large and bright. I like how discrete the camera is. It's difficult to go unnoticed, when you're pointing a honkin DSLR are people. How do you like rangefinders, compared to SLRs?
I do think my photography was much more mindful & "technically intuitive" during the "RF" days. Got pretty good at gauging quality of light by eye rather than metering, & would know pretty much what f-stops & shutter speeds would be needed to deliver the image results I wanted. And yeah, the RFs were much more compact than any of the SLRs.

Downside was whenever I screwed up the technical calculations in my mind vs. viewing thru the lens (WYSIWYG, e.g. depth of field). And limited lens length... I think my longest RF lens was only 135mm.

If I did have $7K to drop on *toys*, though... the Leica M9 would be quite tempting...
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